October 28, 2016 / 6:26 PM / 2 years ago

Peru copper miner MMG bypassing protesters at Las Bambas to ship ore

LIMA, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Chinese-owned miner MMG Ltd is using an alternate route to move copper from its Las Bambas mine to port as a key road in Peru remained blocked by protests on Friday, the company said.

Four communities in the remote Andean region of Apurimac oppose a deal that the government recently struck with other towns to lift protests that had shut down ground transportation from the mine, said Las Bambas spokesman Domingo Drago.

The four Quechua-speaking communities have demanded payment for the company’s use of a local road that they say pollutes their lands when hundreds of trucks carrying copper concentrates pass by daily.

Talks between community leaders and government mediators broke down earlier this month after a protester was shot dead in clashes with police trying to end their weeklong blockage of the road.

Government officials said earlier this week that they expected the four communities to sign onto the preliminary agreement brokered with other towns that had joined protest in a bid to push for broader development in the province of Cotabambas.

The protest halted Las Bambas’ exports from the port of Matarani as stocks were depleted and road blockages threatened to choke off supplies needed to keep operating the mine.

Drago said he was not sure if exports had resumed on Friday. The company said earlier this week that it expected to start shipping again at the end of October or beginning of November.

MMG said has said production has not been affected by the protests and that it still expects Las Bambas to churn out 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes of copper this year.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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